Tuesday, January 29, 2008

all dressed up, and no where to go

all dressed up, and no where to go
Originally uploaded by sarah ...

t's - 34 today, minus who knows what with windchill.

Time to break out the doggie boots.

Even though the photo doesn't show it Gyp and Kaleb like their boots they'll play out in the snow forever with them on, and their feet won't last not even 5 minutes if they aren't wearing them. I last about 10 minutes throwing a ball and playing with them.

Jane thinks either way this weather f**ing sucks.

Monday, January 28, 2008

baby, its cold outside

Gyp in the wind. Well seems that all that wind blew in the COLD weather, it is -28 this morning, -45 with wind chill!!! The dogs have had some nice long runs this weekend in preparation for this weather. Not that it matters, they are driving me nuts already this morning.

Let me re-phrase that, Kaleb is driving me nuts this morning. I love this dog, but my god he gets stir crazy.

So on go the doggies boots and I'll have to brave the cold so they can get out there and run a bit - I'm guessing 5 minutes. UGGH.

Jane says, she'll pass on the idea.

These are the things on a cold day I do with the dogs to keep them content.

Too cold outside?? Time too:
- Play hide the toy ... Jane's favourite cold weather activity
- Free shape some behaviours with some random object in the house, get that brain tired.
- Work on Stays, each dog goes to a different place in the house, and I work one dog at a time on something.
- Give the dogs a nice massage and grooming
- Or just take it easy for the day, I try to give them a FULL day off once a week, nothing is required of them, besides the usual everyday house manners. Gotta recharge those batteries.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I really like this quote, it makes sense to me! I had never seen this one before and came across it on a breeders website, if I was a breeder this is what I would strive for. If I felt that strongly about one breed to want to advocate for it solely, I love all three of my breeds mostly for their unique and true working ability (for their breed) combined with the individual beauty and sense of humour they all have, I am still not sure I am a "One Breed Only" kind of person. Since all of the dogs here are now spayed and neutered I'll just have to dream of what could have been (NOTE sarcasm coming now): Flat-Jacks, Flat-Collie-Russells or maybe Border-Coat-Terriers, ohhh geee, we'll never know what could have been (which is a VERY good thing)

"Pedigree indicates what the animal should be.
Conformation indicates what the animal appears to be.
But performance indicates what the animal actually is." 

Pedigree indicates what the animal should be.

Conformation indicates what the animal appears to be.

But performance indicates what the animal actually is. 

weavin', jumpin' and goin' left and right.

Gyp, challenges sending ahead off 90o angles on a side change (with no arm) I have been using her directionals, still in the learning process but she is getting it yay, her entries are pretty solid, now I am adding distractions IN, ON, and AROUND the poles to keep that little brain thinking. We are progressing well. And have to vary the value of the distraction being used. It is hard to challenge and distract this dog, she is pretty rock solid when it comes to what I ask her, so its always a good thing when I can have her make a mistake!!!!!

How to weave according to Gyp:

(far right): Collect your self and push off first pole for more speed
(middle): Out of the last pole look where you are going next
(left): Weave so fast you go cross eyed is always a good thing

Kaleb, he is pretty rock solid, though at the last trial he missed 3 entries (which is WIERD for him), so back to 3, 4 and 6 poles and poles into poles for an added distraction (for both dogs actually). K did well on the challenges and managed to fix his errors last night. AND angling the poles AWAY from the dog so they have to turn away from me into pole 2 & 3, with another set of poles ahead of those. I need more proofing on this!

Left, Right over jumps and stationary. This is going to be helpful with me, used sparingly of course. It will make my handling more precise and keep me aware of what EXACTLY I am asking of my dog. Both did well and we will continue progressing and testing this. I still need to work on deceleration to get tighter jumping with gyp, she is better to the L than the R, Kaleb is about the same either way. They did GREAT on the threadles and serpentines, my handling is better on these, now that I understand what I was doing wrong in my timing.

so that was that!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Free Falling and Powering Ahead

Last nights goals were pretty much accomplished to some degree, depending on what I was doing. And I have a couple more things to challenge my self with I learned. These are the MAIN things I took from outreach this weekend, and I will be focusing on, this is ust a snip it of what I did last night.

Gyp loves the teeter. Since she was the kind of dog who was worried about movement etc when I got her, we made sure that she would have no teeter issue. Fast forward to now. We have done LOTS of surfing, running to the top with no teeter movement all while not jumping off, and jumping on to it and hitting it to the ground her self. So she has learned to stay on the teeter until it hits the ground. She does not know about a teeter tip point in the middle, so as not to slow her down. The part where we are lacking is a CLEAR end behaviour, she had been hitting it to the ground and leaving, now that she is even more confident, she has no problem, kicking it down with her back feet and taking off, so technically she is correct. She is leaving when it hits the ground, but it is causing her back feet to hit the ground before her front feet, and I am getting a bit of rearing up as she come off, which isn't good. SOOOO since she has a 2o/2o everywhere else, I am fine tuning the teeter, and being pickier about what I want, and last night she did great.

Step 1: One step into her 2o2o position on the teeter, and lift her off with no release.

Step 2: Someone hold the teeter about 6 inches off the ground from the back while gyp is in end her board position. I say TARGET and the teeter is dropped and she must drop her front feet to the ground and stay in her 2o2o position.

Step 3: After a few repetitions the person holds the teeter higher and higher so eventually the teeter is dropped from the highest point and she stays on the board and drops her front feet into position upon my cue TARGET. We got to half way last night and she was great. During this whole process I am moving MY position, and never hovering, as she has the 2o2o understanding, I need to let her do her job, and when she does, she gets rewarded.

So far so good!

I need to be aware of where my body is pointing and not rely so much on my arm, mostly my OFF ARM (arm farthest away from my dog). OK, so if my body and my verbal cue are already both telling my dog where to go, and she is on her way there, and then why do I need to throw my arm. WHY?? I had to think about this for a day: it CAN confuse my dog, so technically I could be giving three cues for one thing. I have been working on specific directionals, this will be my next goal. So my goal here is to trust my dog can get there based on the fact that I am going there anyway, especially with a verbal cue and body position. I will however still use the off arm when turning off a contact into tunnels underneath, my dogs do this very well. So last night I tested the no off arm, and well we had ALL of our entries, by me getting my command and having my body in the right spot, lesson learned.

Kaleb needs to power ahead without me, I race him alot because I can, and it does keep him motvated, but I have to let him do his job too, and understand that when I say GO ON that he does, which he DOES, when I am still running, so I need to teach him that when I DECELERATE, and I say GO ON that he continue to power ahead an gain speed, we did this by throwing a toy in the spot I want to increase his speed. Last night my group said they could really see him POWERING AHEAD on my deceleration and GO ON, so I will continue to work on this on ALL equipment and varying distances. I have noticed, if I send him away 10 - 20 feet to do the jumps on his own, generally he IS FASTER, so I will focus some more on this too.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Well Gyp and Kaleb have been bust reviewing there (ummm our) homework and looking through the videos we took over the weekend.

I will be posting my list of improvements soon, in the meantime here is what Gyp and Kaleb have to say:

Kaleb: OK ma, I'll watch the video, but can I watch Lucy's first, you know I have a thing for redheads.

Gyp: Shut Up dork face I'm trying to watch this video of my friend Maggie!


Kaleb: Ya this is cool, gee mom you make a lot of mistakes don't you ....

Gyp: Shut Up dork face, I'm on now and darn aren't I cute, so you think the camera adds 10 pounds??


Kaleb: NO MORE VIDEOS!!!! I can't handle it, now I know how dad feels when you make him watch all of these videos!!!!

Gyp: more, more, more


The End.

P.S. Though jane isn't featured, she is always watching over the others (she is my computer background picture)

dog herding dogs and Outreach ...

dog herding dogs
Originally uploaded by sarahnovak5

Gyp takes her job of keeping the flock of dogs together, very seriously!

We are signed up for some more herding lessons in the next few weeks, I hope Gyp can adapt her "dog herding" abilities to sheep ....

We got back from our first Outreach Session with Kim Collins last night, and right now the dogs are "too pooped to poop" (Fox and the hound quote).

I am very pleased with my guys performance over the weekend, and I have a lot to work on with them. I'll post more about that when I gather my thoughts a bit!

Motivating and discouraging all at the same time, you just have to take what you can, and for me I am motivated to do better, and the things I am discouraged by, are the same things that motivate me to be better!!! If you don't admit you have things to work on or avoid the things that are difficult you, or make excuses and say you and your dog can't do something, you will never improve, and that for me was something she really emphasized, so homework here I come!!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

don't have a cow man

jane and her cow. she decided after watching gyp and kaleb play with "cowy" that maybe it was a fun toy.

it was time for a walk, and she was still carrying it around, so i put the leash on her, and said "well are you bringing cowy with you??", sure enough "cowy" came along for the walk, Jane keeping it in her mouth for a 30 minute walk, even stopping to do her business, and not dropping her precious toy.

normally she wouldn't care about this toy, but since gyp and kaleb like it, it must be good.

i think people thought she was carrying a dead cat or something, she got a lot of looks on the street carrying this!!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Kaleb is numero uno!

Kaleb is numero uno!
Originally uploaded by sarahnovak5

Well the 2007 AAC results are in!

Kaleb is the #1 Flat-coated Retriever in Canada!

I am very proud of the K-man, he is also #8 (specials) all breeds in Alberta. And tied for the #1 Snooker dog in Alberta. He now sits at 18 titles and counting, this weekend he finished his masters team title.

Here's to a great '08 my k-boy! I hope for many more years of running him, he is in the best shape of his life and givin it all he's got, just to play fetch afterwards and possibly get some really great treats, the things our dogs do for us.

Monday, January 14, 2008

First Agility Trial of 2008

We had our first Agility trial of year and the dogs did great!

Kim Collins and Nikki Gurr from BC were the judges and the courses were nice, technical and challenging!

Jane was entered in six classes and came home with 4Qs in 3 Masters Standards and Steeplechase, she ran great!! I really happy with how she is running for 8.5 years old, which by JRT standards isn't that old. She needs 8 more Qs for her SIlver Awrd of Merit, which I a very happy about! Considering she only does about six trials a year now.

She also came in second on the wiener dunking finals!! haha, she lost to a beagle (of course), then all she wanted all weekend was to go the spot were the dunking was, she was maniac, I am now paying by smelling her wiener farts ...

Gyp came home with 2Qs, her second Advanced Standard leg, and a 1st and Q in Advanced Jumpers, she now moves to Masters! She was a little wild in a couple of her runs, but I'll take that over her being scared ANY DAY!!! She didn't melt to the ground when she heard the Go! sound, which was GREAT!!! She had great contacts and weaves. I need to practice turning off of weaves and running past contacts with her, as she is somewhat obsessed with both. I was able to challenge our skills, and take chances in these courses which was nice, and I am glad to say she handled great!

She was awesome and I couldn't be more proud! Her intensity level at a trial is I would probably say 20% higher than in training, so this is something I need to be aware of, whereas jane and Kaleb are pretty much the same, so I usually know what to expect.

Kaleb had another great weekend. He brought home 3 Qs, 2 Masters Standards, and got his last Q for his Masters Team Title!! One of Kaleb's Qs was earned by Amanda, she ran him great for her first time with him!!! He missed three weaves entries and popped out once, which was concerning, so I 'm not sure if was the floppy weave poles or him. Only one bar knocked all weekend which was great!

He now only needs one Q for his ATCHC, and he'll get his Bronze Award of Merit, and be half way to his Silver Merit when that happens!!!!

To top the weekend off, the dogs and me were chosen by the Judges as the MARVELOUS MASTERS Team for the weekend, I was honoured!

Next weekend is the first session in Kim Collins Outreach, which I am sooooooooo looking forward too!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

out with the old, in with the new ...

out with the old, in with the new ...
Originally uploaded by sarahnovak5

I am referring to the car, not the dogs :)

well its the end of an era. today the dogs got to got for their last "Freedom Ride"

In order to fit my three dogs and Amanda's (2, 3, or 4 :) )they get to ride loose in the back when we go to training, princess jane rides in her kennel as you can see!

The Rav4 is going in tomorrow to get new window tint (it is scratched up from years of abuse), and the two back seatbelts are being fix, as a unmentioned tri-colour dog seen in this photo took it upon her self to chew on them, even with the dog barrier.

we are planning on selling the Rav in the next while, and trading it in for the ULTIMATE dogmobile!!!! We have a toyota Matrix too, which is AN AWESOME dogmobile, but there are only so many dogs you can fit in a car at once, Pete and I usually use the Matrix for long road trips and not for everyday doggy stuff

Say tuned!